07 30 2016
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The Wake of Vanport
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  • Russian hackers likely responsible for hacking attack on Clinton HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Giddy if exhausted, Hillary Clinton embarked on a post-convention Rust Belt bus tour just hours after becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. The celebratory mood quickly evaporated amid fresh revelations that hackers had breached a program used by her campaign and Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to sharpen his barbs. "Remember this," Trump said during a rally Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy." And for the first time he encouraged his supporters' anti-Clinton chants of "lock her up." "I've been saying let's just beat her on Nov. 8," Trump said, "but you know what? I'm starting to agree with you." About an hour later, Clinton aides acknowledged that a hacking attack that exposed Democratic Party emails also reached into a computer system used by her own campaign. The FBI said it was working to determine the "accuracy, nature and scope" of the cyberattacks. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said the newly disclosed breach affected a Democratic National Committee data analytics program used by the campaign and other organizations. Outside experts found no evidence that the campaign's "internal systems have been compromised," Merrill said, but he gave no details on the program or nature of the attacks. Partnerships with modern e-commerce companies can allow sophisticated tracking, categorization and identification of website visitors and voters. President Barack Obama and cybersecurity experts have said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack. The House Democratic campaign committee reported Friday that its information had been accessed. The developments followed the leaking of DNC emails earlier in the week that pointed to a pro-Clinton bias by party officials during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders. In the furor that followed, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned just as Democrats launched their convention. Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will attempt to return attention to their positive economic message on Saturday, with campaign stops through economically struggling areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. "When we take that oath of office next January, we know we can make life better. We know we can create more good jobs," she told voters gathered at an outside market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Clinton cited an economic analysis by economist Mark Zandi, a former economic adviser to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, that found more than 10 million jobs could be created in her first term if her economic proposals were put in place. Zandi's analysis of Trump's plans found they would cost the country 3.5 million jobs and lead to a "lengthy recession." Joined on the bus tour by her husband, Bill Clinton, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, Clinton stopped at a toy and plastics manufacturer in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where she and Kaine cast Trump as a con artist out for his own gain. "We don't resent success in America but we do resent people who take advantage of others in order to line their own pockets," Clinton said. Trump is also focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states where he might make headway with blue-collar white men. That group of voters has eluded Clinton and may be a hard sell after a Democratic convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity. Clinton is playing up economic opportunity, diversity and national security. Democrats hammered home those themes this week with an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers and activists of all races and sexual orientation. Their goal is to turn out the coalition of minority, female and young voters that twice elected Obama while offsetting expected losses among the white men drawn to Trump's message. Democrats continued contrasting their optimistic message with the more troubled vision of the state of the nation presented by Trump and others at the GOP convention a week earlier. Kaine called the "very dark and negative" event a "journey through Donald Trump's mind." "That's a very frightening place," he told thousands of supporters in Philadelphia. Clinton told voters that they faced a "stark choice," calling the coming election the most important one in her lifetime. "This is a moment of reckoning for our country. I don't recognize the country that Donald Trump describes," she said.___Lemire reported from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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  • SEATTLE (AP) — Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food. The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. But critics say not enough is known about their risks, and they want GMOs labeled so people know what's in their food. Several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm in 2013. It also popped up in a field at a university research center in Montana in 2014. It wasn't immediately clear how altered wheat cropped up in Washington. But the U.S. Agriculture Department said there is no evidence it has entered the market. If it did, the FDA concluded that "it is unlikely that the wheat would present any safety concerns if present in the food supply," the department said. A farmer discovered 22 plants in an unplanted field, and the wheat was developed to be resistant to the herbicide known as Roundup, created by seed giant Monsanto, the USDA said. An agency spokeswoman did not know where in the state it was found. Federal officials said they were working with the farmer to ensure that none of the modified wheat is sold. Out of caution, the agency said it is holding and testing the farmer's full wheat harvest, but so far it has not found GMOs. The plants are a type of wheat that had been evaluated in limited field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized, Monsanto said in a statement. It said the type found in Washington state is similar to the one discovered in Oregon three years ago; it has the same inserted DNA but in a different location. No variety of genetically engineered wheat has been approved for commercial use or production in the U.S. GMOs are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans eaten by livestock or made into popular processed food ingredients like cornstarch, soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup. Only a handful of modified fruits and vegetables are available, including Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and squash and a small percentage of sweet corn. The FDA also has approved for consumption a genetically engineered salmon that would grow faster than traditional salmon, but it's not yet available in grocery stores. South Korea said Friday that it will inspect U.S. wheat imports for genetically modified wheat, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has asked the USDA for information on the unapproved wheat and inspection methods. The USDA said it has validated a test that Monsanto developed for the herbicide-resistant wheat, which would be available to trading partners. "Trading partners will get the tests. I believe that once they have those in place, they'll continue buying," said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, a state agency that represents wheat farmers. "We don't anticipate any major disruptions." The USDA also said it has beefed up oversight of genetically engineered field trials and now requires developers to apply for a permit for those involving GMO wheat starting this year. In 2014, genetically modified wheat plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where it was legally tested by Monsanto in the early 2000s. The plants in eastern Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, and the USDA closed its investigation two years ago unable to determine how the wheat got there. Different strains were found in each state. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington State Agriculture Department referred questions to federal authorities.
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  • Six current or former state employees were charged Friday with misconduct and other crimes in the Flint water crisis 
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  • Hillary Clinton cast herself as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world 
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Editor's Note: After weeks of mostly peaceful demonstrations as part of the Occupy Oakland movement, police clashed with protestors last night, hurling tear gas into the crowd. Tensions rose early Tuesday when hundreds of police dismantled protestors' encampment at civic center plaza. Two police officers were reportedly injured, while 102 people were arrested yesterday, local media reported. NAM's Kevin Weston witnessed the aftermath of Tuesday's chaos of tear gas, shock grenades, mace and batons, and offers this perspective on the spectacle.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- There is a feeling -- among certain circles of politically conscious and active black people and other people of color not involved in the Occupy Oakland movement, but hovering around its fringes -- that the Oakland protest was mostly made up of people that embody the word occupiers, except they are seen as occupying neighborhoods that were, just a few years ago, almost all black and brown.

They are the prototypical/stereotypical gentrifiers. Young, kinda scruffy looking, with bikes, dogs and weed. Cool though, but odd finding them out during all times of the day and night in West Oakland. The politics behind the movement are undeniable to folks that grew up informed by the Bay Area led movements of the '60s and '70s -- the Black Panthers, Free Speech/Ethnic Studies movements, Gay Rights, etc. We've seen it all and been there done that and don't mind if massive street protests get done again, just not by us.

The Occupy Oakland Facebook site had been lit up weeks prior to the crackdown with posts and threads beefing about the lack of diversity at the camp and in the decision-making processes on site. This kind of racial divisiveness is typical of the East Bay activist, left community and is a decades old struggle. Race and racism are hardly discussed anywhere, let alone inside a revolution.

The feeling among those on the sidelines looking in boiled down to this: There is no way a gathering of more than a few dozen non-white youth -- with tents and grills and signs lambasting capitalism or police brutality or whatever, would have been allowed to set up shop in front of City Hall for this long. Occupiers could get away with it though, for a time.

After a young black man, Oscar Grant III, was shot in the back by a former BART police officer on New Year's Eve 2009, protestors were met on the street by riot police and paddy wagons. Folks involved in the mostly peaceful organized protests, filled with hundreds of young people of color, would not have been allowed to spend the night.

Even before the crackdown came, it wasn't a question of when it would end, but how badly and by what force. Would a crackhead light his pipe up in front of kids? Would a bipolar drunk grab a woman's breast? Would children be maced? Would a rubber bullet take out an old woman's eye? Then the next thought is: Whew, glad none of my people were down there.

Either through its own human waste, internal strife (fueled by race) and crime-filled inertia or the governments iron fisted crackdown, Occupied Oakland at Frank Ogawa Plaza was doomed. After the carnage melancholy creeps in. A chunk of Americans are reported to "agree" with the politics behind the occupy movement. And I imagine there is plenty of sympathy in this city -- ravaged by unemployent, foreclosures and budget cuts -- for a lot of their agenda.

Power to the people, and more power to them, because if somebody is going to take these particular actions -- camping out (basically a sleep-in) and battling police on the street -- it might as well be the Occupiers.

Hundreds of families in Oakland have more intimate concerns that require sustainable forms of fighting injustice. While Occupy Oakland was pitching tents, parents, teachers and concerned communities supporting the handful of schools facing closure because of budget cuts are organizing single mothers, elders raising kids and students to save their schools. Hundreds are expected to attend a school board meeting tonight to fight the closures.

As the night fell on Tuesday protestors and police clashed in and around Frank Ogawa Plaza -- tear gas, shock grenades, mace and batons. No one knows if this is the end or just the beginning of total chaos.

photo credit: J.P. Dobrin photography

Kevin Weston is writer at NAM you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. email at kweston@newamericamedia.org.

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